Broadband breakdowns: 60 million internet outages experienced a month by UK households

• 70% of UK households suffer broadband breakdowns every month, with households experiencing, on average, three outages or instances of prolonged significantly slower speeds per month

• Every home loses nearly 7.5 hours, or a working day, of internet usage on average, due to outages or very slow speeds

• Vast majority (93%) of households receive no compensation for the outages

23 May 2018 – The UK is in the grips of a broadband breakdown epidemic, according to The latest research shows that UK households up and down the country are experiencing a staggering 60 million internet outages*, or significantly slower speeds, every month.

With the average home experiencing three broadband breakdowns a month – with some homes (11%) even having to endure 10 outages a month – the research also shows just how much time it takes to resolve the issue. On average, every outage takes 2.5 hours to fix, meaning that most households across the UK are losing a working days’ worth of internet every month (nearly 7.5 hours).

However, people’s irritation towards the poor internet service they receive is not reflected in their actions, with two thirds (66%) suffering in silence, rather than complaining to their supplier. One of the reasons that people don’t complain may be the sense that it won’t be effective – almost half (48%) who did complain thought that their complaint wasn’t handled well. It also seems that broadband providers don’t offer much in the way of financial recompense for poor service levels, as an overwhelming 93% of people polled who experienced broadband outages or slower speeds received no compensation. According to the latest Telecoms and pay-tv complaints report, Ofgem receives the highest volume of complaints about fixed broadband, compared to landlines or mobile phones.

A large number of households which experience internet problems are inconvenienced by it. 43% say that the outages or periods of slow speeds have materially impacted them, by making it harder to communicate with family and friends (18%), not being able to access a key piece of information (17%) or not being able to complete an important piece of work (13%).

Peter Earl

Peter Earl

Head of Utilities

“These figures are pretty shocking. We all experience intermittent internet sometimes, but it seems that broadband breakdowns are increasingly becoming the norm, rather than the exception. It is a great pity that most households appear to just suffer in silence. It may be that they feel their complaints won’t be adequately handled, or that it’s just a fact of life, but providers should do better, and people should expect an efficient, reliable service."


“The key thing is to complain, request compensation where appropriate for the inconvenience caused and, critically, switch if the situation doesn’t improve. Switching broadband providers is still firmly in the minority and this needs to change. Only 29% of those polled in our survey have thought about switching, despite the many instances of poor service. The only way the market is going to get better and more competitive is if people complain, complain and complain again, and then move to providers with better service. Ultimately, the more this happens, the more pressure there will be on Open Reach and others to improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure.”